Hi Colette and Jean.
I lived on our boat in Spain years ago, before they joined the EEC, and I have to say, O4 Marine
and Palagic’s advice is the best, even if it might be the most difficult to actually swallow.
[ethnic slur deleted] officials are a funny
bunch who easily take offence at what they perceive to be personal affronts and insults to their country. The way to deal with it is as calmly as you can muster, when the morons come on board, offer them tea and refreshments, and tell them how sorry you are, and how broke you are, being only retired cruising people, etc. Some tears from the wife will help.
They are normally receptive to the underdog, if they think you are like them. So try to give them a reason to feel the authorities (not the actual official personally, who you are talking to at the time), are being a bit overbearing on honest ordinary folks like you, who only have the boat as a house.
Anything can happen. One day the port Captain
might tell you you can sail, and all is forgiven.
The local lawyer might help, especially if he has a boat in the marina, but try to keep it as much out of the “official” area as possible. The higher you go the more entrenched the situation can become and if you've actually broken the law, you need to keep it local if possible.
You might even get an indication a bribe will sort it – and it might - but be careful, this can be a denouncing offense.
If you don't speak fluent Spanish, try to find someone who does who can simply act as interpreter. It helps to hear the way they say things, not just what they say.
Try to stay calm and collected and don’t insult them in even the slightest way, (within earshot anyway), or to any other Spaniard who appears to have a sympathetic ear. Pity you don’t have any small kids
on board. They have a marked effect on Spaniards.
These things have a habit of sorting themselves out and I hope they do in your case.The object is to win, and get the hell out of the place with your boat and as little payment as possible.
By the way, it happens all over the place. Here in Orlando, Florida
, an Englishman overstayed his visa and was under threat of deportation. So he went straight to the newspapers with his sob-story of overbearing authority, which made it so the authorities had to follow the letter of the law, and they deported him. It didn't help him one bit.